Wednesday, March 9, 2022

holland razor blade

1 1/2 jigger Holand Gin (2 oz Bols Genever)
Juice 1/2 Lemon (1/2 oz Lemon Juice)
(1/2 oz Simple Syrup)

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and dust with cayenne pepper.

Two Wednesdays ago, I guest came into Drink and requested the Holland Razor Blade. Despite never having had one, I recalled the recipe. I replied that we could get close to the recipe but we lacked cayenne pepper for the garnish at the bar; he was okay with our punt of muddling a few jalapeño slices into the mix and in fact ordered a second round with that modification. When I inquired where he had learned of such an obscure drink, he commented that he discovered it a bar in New York City. I was familiar with the drink after having read Charles H. Baker Jr.'s Jigger, Beaker, & Glass: Drinking Around the World book where he cites 1931 as his personal discovery date. I could swear that it was in other cocktail books, but I did not find it in Duffy, Trader Vic, or other mid-century collections. The recipe as written was pretty stark, and I think that I did the balance justice by adding in the sugar syrup; however, it would be so much more cutting of a Razor Blade if the citrus was left unbalanced. With a little of research, I discovered that my adaptation was close to how Eric Alperin modified the drink (he used 3/4 oz each lemon juice and simple syrup) and got it published in Food & Wine circa 2009. I also found an interview that year, where he lists the drink as one of his favorites alongside the Old Fashioned, Sazerac, and Ramos Gin Fizz, and how he put it on the menu at the Varnish earlier that year.
When I got home, I decided to make this recipe the correct way since I had cayenne pepper at hand (I have since located a source at the kitchen's spice racks at work). Here, the aroma of the Holland Razor Blade was rather malty from the Genever. Next, lemon and malt notes mingled on the sip, and the swallow came through with malt, herbal, and spicy heat. When I had muddled the jalapeños at work, the heat was immediate and consistent throughout akin to the Bone Crusher; however, with the chili powder added to the surface, the heat integrated gradually such that over time, each sip was a touch spicier than the last.

1 comment:

Spencer said...

I had this drink for the first time at the Varnish! Introduced me to Genever - delicious drink.